Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Polar Vortex....

We have felt the affects of the polar vortex clear down to upstate South Carolina the past few days...normally, anything North of us laughs its ass off at our reactions to cold weather, snow, ice, etc. However, this is a temperate clime here...we can have whole winters with no snow, sometimes with 70 F degree temps. We do not have heavy road equipment to deal with blocked frozen roads. Appropriate heavy cold weather gear isn't even sold in the area, many kids have no more than a light jacket. So when the temps over the past few days plunged to below freezing and icy wind chills for us, the rest of the ice locked, snow buried, frozen North above us was nothing but amused, I suspect.

However, for us, the difference between normal temps of 50's and even 60's  and negative -1 F degrees was fairly appalling...or invigorating, depending on your perspective. I found it invigorating! I love winter. The stars are at their clearest, the air is crisp and clean.

When I took this picture, the wind gusts were up to 26 mph, wind chill temp down to 27 degrees and plummeting like a stone. It was going to go down to 8 degrees, and into wind chill driven negative temps below zero. The air and sky were like crystal, the mountains vivid and dark; the lake restless and choppy.... it was an incredibly beautiful day!

The cats all curled up on the heat vents...and we wonder why we are chilly! 

Or they snuggled up to us...
Poor Dreamweaver had to continue with her work schedule, which had her leaving for work around 4:30 AM...I covered her car with a blanket to block any frost or ice, and closed the car doors on the edges of the blanket to keep it from blowing away in the wind gusts. That morning I got up with her, and went out to retrieve the blanket and start her car for her to warm it up. The temperature was -1 F with the windchill...and the blanket got stuck in the car door behind the driver's side! I tugged. I pulled. I said some words I will not repeat here. I crawled through the back seat and pushed and hammered. No results. I had visions of her driving to work with the blanket flapping in the breeze behind her! I was shivering and reaching for my pocket knife to slice off the blanket at the window, when one last tug proved successful, the door popped open and the blanket came free. Suspect it had frozen shut. I didn't tell Dreamweaver about this, until later that day - figured she didn't need to know!
We also stayed in and watched a lot of TV as the temps began to drop. We were watching a re-run of a Nova Christmas special we never tire of...and Amerghin, our orange and white cat came flying in, hopped up and watched every second of it with us...he particularly liked the scene with the fox bounding around the snow, hunting for field mice. Amerghin watches a fair amount of TV with us. Never ceases to amuse us that he does....

He also liked the swans here...

He seemed just as fascinated with the naturalist
who camped out in the snow as we were!

You can see the Christmas Tree in Yellowstone National Park here 

Ibn, our indoor/outdoor cat showed up,
 stated that it was %$##@ cold and to let him in NOW - his words!

He slept inside safe and sound from the cold!
In a few days it began to warm up. Having navigated negative temps and wind chill the previous 2 days, I discovered when I went outside into a mere 32 degrees freezing temp, that it felt warm! Literally. Unzipped my jacket, and ran errands with the heater off in the car! I did discover a stray can of soda that had been left in the car by accident before the advent of the Polar Vortex - it had of course, exploded.

The air remained crisp and clean and lovely - I took MacDubh out for a walk, and took some pictures. I realized later how blurry the pictures were. You have to understand, they were taken with a 50 lb dog bouncing and frisking on the leash attached to me while I was trying to aim the camera - the amazing thing is that what I wanted a picture of is even in the frame! 

Winter's eve up by the lake...if you look closely, you can see that there are sheets of ice spanning out from the shorelines, broken by open water. Watched a line of young ducklings swim up to the ice, clamber out, waddle comically together towards the next span of open water, and then one by one by one jump back in and paddle off in a line!
Lovely day, wonderful moment!
The baby ducks are actually crossing the ice in the camera just didn't have enough "oomph" to pick them up clearly. I can spot the little blurs of where they are, but I saw where they were when I took the picture

And the waxing moon seen through the mistletoe on the bare winter trees....
Overall, we weathered the cold and the frigid temps quite well, for thin skinned southerners - but in the end, I think our sleepy fur children had the right idea about how best to handle it: 
Long Winter's Naps! 

MacDubh, the sleepy puppy! 

They do let us have the bed, every now and then...


  1. They let us have the bed when they want attention or they are cold. The grumping that attends moving them so I can get on the bed involves blue language I won't repeat here.

    I deeply appreciate you getting me off to work!

  2. In Alaska, we had 'little buddy' heaters inside the car. The door would freeze shut without them, even without the blanket! Sometimes, though, there would be sheets of ice, in the 'spring' mostly, frozen over the car to be chiseled away. And the tire would freeze a little flat and bump along till they warmed up. I most loved it all.